Dealing with Death

Death of a Parent

The Best Gift for Mom by Lee KleinThe Best Gift for Mom by Lee Klein (1995) A story of a boy and his feelings about his father, who died when the boy was a baby.

DAD! Why’d You Leave Me

DAD! Why’d You Leave Me? By Dorothy Frost (1991) Although ten-year-old Ronnie feels anger, sorrow, and confusion over the sudden death of his father, his life slowly returns to normal as he experiences the support of his loving family and God.

 Daddy’s Chair

Daddy’s Chair by Sandy Lanton (1991) Michael’s dad has died, and the family is observing Shiva, the Jewish week of mourning. As the days go by, and friends and family visit, Michael gradually comes to terms with his father’s death.

Everett Anderson’s Goodbye

Everett Anderson’s Goodbye by Lucille Clifton, illus. by Ann Grifalconi (1983) A touching story of a little boy who is trying to come to grips with his father’s death. This was a Reading Rainbow selection. [NHCPL]

 Geranium Morning*** Geranium Morning by E. Sandy Powell (1990) A young boy copes with the sudden death of his father in a traffic accident. Great discussion starter. [NHCPL]

Her Mother’s Face

Her Mother’s Face by Roddy Doyle (2008) This British tale is the story of a young girl whose mother died when she was three, too young to remember her mother clearly. But a wise woman in the park tells her to look in the mirror and she will see what her mother looked like as a child. [NHCPL]

How it Feels when a Parent Dies

How it Feels when a Parent Dies by Jill Krementz (1988) Eighteen young people ranging in age from seven to sixteen discuss the questions, fears, and bereavement they experienced when one of their parents died. [NHCPL]

I Heard Your Daddy Died

I Heard Your Daddy Died by Mark Scrivani and Susan Aitken (2008) This is a simple and helpful tool for family members and caregivers to read to the child who has lost a parent. This book lets the child know it is okay for them to cry and be sad as well as be happy and play. The book includes many ideas to help child remember their parent.

 Learning to Say Goodbye When a Parent Dies

Learning to Say Goodbye When a Parent Dies by Eda Leshan (1991) Helps children recognize their emotions and actions and helps them overcome them.

 A Quilt for Elizabeth

A Quilt for Elizabeth by Benette Tiffault, illus. by Mary McConnell (1991) Elizabeth’s grandmother helps her understand her feelings after her father dies.

Rachel and the Upside Down Heart

Rachel and the Upside Down Heart by Eileen Douglas (1990) At first Rachael feels so sad that it’s as if her heart is upside down. After a while Rachel discovers happiness – while keeping the memory of her father alive in her heart.

 Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile A Story About Coping With the Loss of a Parent

Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile: A Story About Coping With the Loss of a Parent by Julie B. Kaplow (2007) In this gentle story, Sammy Jane comes to accept her feelings of grief and fear and to understand that they won’t go away if she ignores them. Excellent note to parents on helping children who are grieving at the end. [NHCPL]

 Saying Goodbye to Daddy

Saying Goodbye to Daddy by Judith Vigna (1991) Frightened, lonely, and angry after her father is killed in a car accident, Clare is helped through the grieving process by her mother and grandfather. [NHCPL]

Sunflowers and Rainbows for Tia Saying Goodbye to Daddy


*** Sunflowers and Rainbows for Tia: Saying Goodbye to Daddy by Alesia K. Alexander, illus. by Clarissa Love (1999) A young African-American girl shares how she feels when her father dies suddenly. Eventually she discovers healing and family.


WWhere Are Youhere Are You? By Laura Olivieri, illus. by Kristin Elder (2007) Written by a “Mom” who struggled with how to explain her husband’s suicide to her young son, this picture book to read together is for children from ages 5-10.

Death of a Grandparent

Annie and the Old One*** Annie and the Old One by Miska Miles, illus. by Peter Parnall (1985) This Newbery Honor book tells the story of Annie, an Indian child, who resorts to extremes in trying to prevent her beloved grandmother from dying.

 Come Back, Grandma

Come Back, Grandma by Sue Limb (1993) Bessie and her grandmother spend many hours together before her grandmother passes away, and years later, when Bessie has a daughter of her own, she is able to share the happy memories.

Fireflies, Peach Pies, and Lullabies 

Fireflies, Peach Pies, and Lullabies by Virginia Kroll, illus. by Nancy Cote (1995) When Francie’s Great-Granny Annabel dies of Alzheimer’s disease, Francie finds a way to help people remember the real person rather than the shell she had become as the disease ran its course. [NHCPL]

Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth

Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth by Douglas Wood, illus. by P.J. Lynch (1999) Each time that he and Grandad walk in the woods, the boy listens for the prayers of the earth. While he isn’t always sure he hears them, Grandad’s words inspire him to keep listening. [NHCPL]

 Grandpa’s ChairGrandpa’s Chair by Terence Thornton (1987) As a boy and his grandfather grow older and are eventually parted by death, the boy treasures the old man’s chair as a special memento of a happy relationship.

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs

*** Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola (1998 edition) Every Sunday a little boy visits his Grandmother (“Nana Downstairs”) and Great-Grandmother (“Nana Upstairs” in bed) and loves them both. But one day Nana Upstairs is gone and he is sad and confused. Perfect for children in an extended generation or caregiver family. [NHCPL]

One More Wednesday

One More Wednesday by Malika Doray (2001) When a little animal’s grandmother dies, he remembers good times with her and asks his mother about death. [NHCPL]

 Saying Goodbye to Grandma

*** Saying Goodbye to Grandma by Jane Resch Thomas and James Cross Giblin, illus. by Marcia Sewell (1988) Susie is curious about what will happen when she travels with her parents to attend her grandmother’s funeral in the small town where her mother grew up.

When Your Grandparent Dies A Child’s Guide to Good Grief

When Your Grandparent Dies: A Child’s Guide to Good Grief by Victoria Ryan, illus. by R.W. Alley (2002) A picture book aimed at children ages 6-10.

Why Did Grandpa Die A Book about Death


Why Did Grandpa Die? A Book about Death by Barbara Shook Hazen (1985) This picture helps open up communication about death between parent and child. [NHCPL]

 Death of a Sibling

Am I Still A SisterAm I Still A Sister? By Alicia M. Sims (1992) The author asks the questions and expresses the feelings experienced by bereaved siblings. [NHCPL]

Ben’s Flying Flowers

Ben’s Flying Flowers by Inger M. Maier (2012) This story follows Emily as she tries to overcome her grief following her brother’s death. As time passes, Emily finds a way to remember her brother and grows to understand that although Ben has died, her happy memories of him can continue to live. [NHCPL]

 Children Are Not Paperdolls

Children Are Not Paperdolls by Erin Levy (1982) This is a book of drawings and quotations from young bereaved siblings. They talk about their personal experiences of loss, hearing the news, what the funeral was like, how they reacted, how their families changed, their feelings of guilt and sorrow, and what helped them to heal.

 Mick Harte Was Here

Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park (1995) How could someone like Phoebe’s brother die? Mick Harte was one of the coolest kids you’d ever want to meet. Mick was also the kid who would still be alive now if he’d only worn his bicycle helmet.

 Nadia the Willful

Nadia the Willful by Sue Alexander (1992) When her favorite brother disappears, Nadia refuses to let him be forgotten despite her father’s bitter decree that his name shall not be uttered.

No New Baby For Boys and Girls Whose Expected Sibling Dies

No New Baby: For Boys and Girls Whose Expected Sibling Dies by Marilyn Gryte, illus. by Shari Borum(1986) A wise story to explore with children whose family loses a baby to miscarriage or premature birth.

 Thumpy’s Story The Story of Grief and Loss Shared by Thumpy the Bunny

Thumpy’s Story: The Story of Grief and Loss Shared by Thumpy the Bunny (1984) The story of Thumpy’s sister, who was not strong enough to keep living.

We Were Going to Have a Baby, But We had an Angel Instead

We Were Going to Have a Baby, But We had an Angel Instead by Pat Schwebert (2003) A young boy describes his feelings about the death of a baby in his family. Includes a section written for parents on how to help their children cope with the death of an infant.

 Where’s Jess For Children Who Have a Brother or Sister Die

Where’s Jess: For Children Who Have a Brother or Sister Die by Joy and Marvin Johnson (1986) A small boy’s sibling dies and he notices she is gone. The parents tell him what death is about and how it is all right to remember and talk about Jess.


Death of a Classmate or Friend

The Class in Room 44 When a Classmate DiesThe Class in Room 44: When a Classmate Dies by Lynn Blackburn (1991) Explores the many different feelings classmates will have while giving ideas to help remember the student.

Goodbye Rune

Goodbye Rune by Marit Kaldhol and Oyen Wenche, illus. by Michael Crosby-Jones (1987) When her best friend accidentally drowns, a little girl with the help of her parents, tries to come to terms with his death and her feelings of loss and sadness.

I Had a Friend Named Peter Talking to Children About the Death of a Friend

I Had a Friend Named Peter: Talking to Children About the Death of a Friend by Janice Cohn, D.S.W, illus. by Gail Owens (1987) When Betsy learns about the death of a friend, her parents and kindergarten teacher answer questions about dying, funerals, and the burial process. [NHCPL]

 If Nathan Were Here

If Nathan Were Here by Mary Bahr, illus. by Karen A. Jerome (2000) A young boy grieves the loss of his best friend and thinks about how things would be if he were still alive.

Remembering Crystal

Remembering Crystal by Sebastain Loth (2010) In this gentle story, children learn that true friendship is a gift that doesn’t die. [NHCPL]


 Death of a Pet

Dog Heaven*** Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant (1995) Recommended highly by pet lovers around the world, Dog Heaven not only comforts but also brings a tear to anyone who is devoted to a pet. [NHCPL]

 A Funeral for Whiskers

A Funeral for Whiskers by Lawrence Balter (1991) Sandy is very sad and upset when her cat Whiskers dies, but her parents help her understand and accept the loss.

Goodbye, Mousie

Goodbye, Mousie by Robie H. Harris, illus. by Jan Ormerod (2001) A boy grieves for his dead pet Mousie, helps to bury him, and begins to come to terms with his loss.

 Harry and Hopper

Harry and Hopper by Margaret Wild, illus. by Freya Blackwood (2011) Harry loves his dog, Hopper. But when Hopper dies, Harry has a difficult time. The author delivers a gentle and comforting story about losing a beloved pet and the process of healing. [NHCPL]

 I’ll Always Love You

I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm (1985) As a young boy grows taller, his beloved pet dog grows rounder and older. After the dog dies, the boy says, “I was very sad, too, but it helped to remember that I had told her every night, “I’ll always love you.” [NHCPL]

Jim’s Dog, Muffins

*** Jim’s Dog, Muffins by Miriam Cohen (2008)Jim’s dog Muffins is hit by a garbage truck and killed, and the first-grade class sends him a condolence letter. When Jim returns to school, the first graders try to share his loss and ease his pain, but Jim refuses to talk or even let anyone come near him. [NHCPL]

 Let’s Talk About When Your Pet Dies

Let’s Talk About When Your Pet Dies by Arianne Johnston (1997) Describes the feelings that a child might have when their pet dies and discusses how to cope with these feelings. [NHCPL]

Paw Prints in the Stars A Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet

Paw Prints in the Stars: A Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet by Warren Hanson (2008) Written in the voice of the pet that has passed on, this story brings peace and comfort while celebrating the lessons of life and death.

Sammy in the Sky

Sammy in the Sky by Barbara Walsh (2011) A deeply affecting tale of love, loss, and remembrance told in clear-eyed prose. [NHCPL]

 Saying Goodbye to Lulu

Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas, Illus. by Ard Hoyt (2004) Often the passing of a pet is the first experience children have with death. While never trivializing the death of a person, this story helps children understand the meaning of grief and loss and that it won’t last forever. For ages 6-10.

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney

*** The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst (1986) Barney was a cat. He died last Friday. They had a funeral and they tried to think of good things about him. They wanted to remember him as he was. Simple language for a profound lesson. [NHCPL]




Death of a Teacher, Older Relative, or Family Friend

Bye, Mis’ Lela

Bye, Mis’ Lela by Dorothy Carter, illus. by Harvey Stevenson (1998) Sugar Plum, an African American preschooler, must come to terms with the death of her elderly babysitter. [NHCPL]

 I Remember Miss Perry

I Remember Miss Perry by Pat Brisson, illus. by Stephanie Jorisch (2006) When their beloved teacher dies in an automobile accident, the children of Miss Perry’s class learn to find comfort in their memories of her. [NHCPL]


Losing Uncle Tim by Mary Kate Jordan, illus. by Judith Friedman (1989) When his beloved Uncle Tim dies of AIDS, Losing Uncle TimDaniel struggles to find reassurance and understanding and eventually finds that his favorite grown-up has left him a legacy of joy and courage.





*** Books I personally think are exceptional either in content or readability or both. Worth buying.

This bibliography was prepared by Rebecca Taylor, Funeral Consumers Alliance – Costal Carolina. Notation of “NHCPL” means the New Hanover County Public Library.

Please check your local public library, or request titles by Interlibrary Loan. Virtually all titles are also available from online bookstores, like, often in “used” and other inexpensive editions.,

 Questions or for more copies contact:

Rebecca Taylor, President
Funeral Consumers Alliance Coastal Carolina
P.O. Box 4262
Wilmington, NC 28406Email: